The past decades have seen the microfinance industry grow by leaps and bounds globally and India is no exception. With increasing focus on financial inclusion in India, Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) are occupying centre stage as a prominent conduit for extending financial services to unbanked sections of population. With each passing day, MFIs are playing a pivotal role in eradicating poverty. According to an independent survey, microfinance has been able to uplift the income of poor and hence their standard of living.
One such organization embracing every opportunity and delivering exclusive services to empower mankind is IIFL Group company, Samasta Microfinance Limited. The success story of Samasta was scripted in the year 2008 when the company was launched with the vision of providing financial services to unbanked regions of the country. Since then, Samasta has come a long way in providing financial assistance to rural and semi-urban women who are economically active and enterprising. The company’s main objective is to support women’s entrepreneurial endeavors with access to critical financial services, thereby helping families to increase their incomes and improve lives.
Samasta Microfinance was established to drive social change among the urban and rural poor in South India. It believes that the participation of the private sector in social development can ensure transparency in governance, which is essential for transformation at the grassroot level.
Getting Financial Services to the Unbanked
People from the unbanked category have financial needs that are typically not addressed by conventional financial institutions. This hinders their aspiration to progress. This is where Samasta comes in the picture. Samasta brings affordable financial services to the customers’ neighbourhood, giving them quick access to finance to materialise their growth aspirations. Today, Samasta has become synonymous with trust, warmth and responsible lending.
Samasta has a comprehensive portfolio of financial products ranging from loans for income generation, dairy cattle, education and consumer products to MSME loans. Its services are tailored to suit varied needs of customers. The company, a subsidiary of financial conglomerate IIFL Group, carries out regular survey in the areas where it operates to understand the kind of activities that people are engaged in there. This helps the company to tailor products that suit customer needs rather than providing the one-size-fits-all products. The solutions meet a variety of needs like increasing working capital, buying inventories or supplies, purchasing of machinery or equipment and even providing start-up capital for new businesses.
Through training sessions and financial literacy programs, Samasta provides necessary support to customers to engage in economic activities. The company tracks utilisation of loans, provide timely guidance and make credit interventions with top-up loans to help customers grow and sustain their businesses.
Catalyst for Financial Inclusion
Microfinance industry plays a crucial role in sustainable financial inclusion and economic empowerment. Samasta acts as a catalyst for financial inclusion by giving unbanked population access to affordable financial services and products to build businesses, increase incomes, meet their needs and drive the progress they desire.
“We are in the responsible lending business. We help our customers to create opportunities for themselves by giving them timely access to finance. By doing this, we contribute largely to the upward mobility of our customers and promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth of the country,” says Venkatesh N, Managing Director, Samasta Microfinance.
Services from Samasta help customers to improve their financial resilience and achieve better standard of living. What is more important is, over a period of time, the customers become eligible to access mainstream financial services. Customers, once denied access to mainstream financial products due to subprime credit scores or non-existent credit files, become eligible to access mainstream financial services. This is made possible by timely financial support from Samasta to improve their income levels and also with credit history and record of financial transactions.
Huge Opportunities Ahead
With RBI giving differentiated bank licences for small finance banks and payments banks, customers have access to a wide range of options to select from. Samasta still sees a huge demand for credit and financial services facilities in rural and semi-urban areas. It is entering new geographies, improving and strengthening their connection to customers with new branches across the length and breadth of the country.
The company leverages state-of-the-art technology to streamline operations, standardize processes and deliver services efficiently while ensuring superior customer experience. By following the latest advances in technology, the company continuously improves operational efficiency while scaling the business for growth. It has adopted a technology driven approach that helps to reduce turnaround time for service delivery, get better visibility into the performance of the product portfolio and gain insights about customers.
Making a Mark
It requires a determined, focused and positive approach to grow any business. Like any other business, Samasta also had ups and downs, but faced those challenges heads-on. The company strives to provide the entire gamut of financial services to customers, leaving a lasting impact on their lives. It also chases bigger dreams of transforming the business to the next level – mainstreaming within the larger financial services market.